Every massage should be as different as the individual receiving it. While many experienced massage therapists are very good at discovering each body’s unique set of muscular and physical issues, the quality of your massage is very much dependent on how well you inform your therapist of what’s going on with your body.

Massage therapists can achieve some amazing results with their toolbox of techniques, but if they’re spending time figuring out what’s going on, they won’t have as much time to focus on addressing the actual issue(s).  Here are some guidelines on what you should let your massage therapist know before and while they’re working on you to ensure that you’re getting the best massage possible:

1. Tell your massage therapist about any past injuries

The first time you visit a massage therapist, you’re going to have to fill out some paperwork about past injuries.  Don’t let it just be a first-time conversation however. If you feel an old injury flaring up (whether it needs extra attention or is extra sensitive or should be avoided), it’s important to let your therapist know so he or she can help you feel better.

Injuries can create structural and muscular imbalances that can linger for years if not addressed. Cluing your massage therapist into these can help them in understanding where they need to spend their time to get you back in balance.

2. Communicate current pain points or problem areas

Do you know what may be causing your pain? Anything goes! Maybe you have a soft mattress, pulled a muscle while moving, or are just sore from running in unsupportive shoes.

If you’re taking any medicine, are pregnant, have skin conditions, have high blood pressure or other health issues, be certain to share these as well. In some instances, massage may not be a good idea, or certain areas or techniques should be avoided

3. Talk about your lifestyle

Your lifestyle is very important to talk about with your massage therapist. The more your therapist knows, the better he or she can help you. After all, lifestyle stressors are often the reason you’re in their office in the first place. An informed therapist can make great recommendations on how you can stay pain-free (think: fixing your posture while working at your desk or showing you how to stretch chronically tight parts).

Some lifestyle questions they may ask:

How is your day-to-day stress level?

How often do you exercise?

Are you on your feet all day? Sitting at your desk for work?

4. Be a semi-active participant

Your massage therapist uses your body’s feedback to better understand and address what’s going on, but they’re not clairvoyant.  Letting your therapist know that the pressure is too deep, to light, or that the area they’re working on is a “hot spot” ensures that your therapist can adjust their approach to result in th best possible massage for you. Help them help you!

5. Communicate your feedback

Sometimes clients do not return and therapists are left to guess as to why. Help remove the mystery by giving constructive feedback. Every massage therapy and bodywork professional wants to make you happy and leave you feeling amazing, but too often we hold back our constructive comments for fear the therapist will be offended.

Nothing is off-limits; talk about technique, the office, the temperature, the music, the service offering, etc. It’s better to hear it from you than see a lousy review on the Internet. Keep it professional and kind and you’ll most likely find an eager audience.

Many people feel that receiving a massage is a one-sided affair. While it can be, and many times is, you’ll find that you’ll receive a better massage that’s custom tailored to.